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Regular Columns

Let’s not tear ourselves apart

As the evangelical church in the West seems to be tearing itself apart over a number of scandals, the thought came to mind that there is a fairly simple (but not simplistic) solution. What if we returned to the Biblical practice of church discipline?

Comment David Robertson

In our individualistic society, where individual autonomy and ‘rights’ trump everything, the notion of church discipline is not one that is popular, even in the church. The term brings to mind associations with authoritarianism, legalism, pettiness and bullying. A misuse of discipline can lead to those abuses, but you don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. I would suggest that if we returned to a Biblical understanding of church discipline then we would have a far better framework for dealing with many of our current problems. Of course, that also means that we need a better understanding of what the church actually is – confusion about ecclesiology is wreaking havoc amongst us.